• River cruise
  • Northern Vietnam
  • Central Vietnam
  • Southern Vietnam
  • Day Trip
  • Beach Destination
  • Ecotourist Destination
  • Vietnam Discovery
  • Cambodia Wonders
  • Laos Highlights

Vietnam information

Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S”. Vietnam borders with People's Republic of China to the north, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Kingdom of Cambodia to the west, the East Sea and the Pacific Ocean to the east and the south.

Official name: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Capital city: Hanoi.

Area: 331,689 sq.km

Population: 90,000,000 inhabitants (01/11/2013) composed of 54 ethnic groups with 87% of Vietnamese. 

Topography: Three quarters of Vietnam's territory consist of mountains and hills. Two major deltas, the Red river delta & the Mekong river delta constitute the two main rice baskets supplying foods to the country and for export.

Administrative organization: The country is divided into 58 provinces and 5 municipalities.

Climate: Vietnam, located in both a tropical and a temperate zone, has a monsoon climate, with two seasons. The cool and dry season occurs from November to April and the hot & rainy season from May to October. There are essentially four distinct seasons, which are most evident in the northern provinces. So, Vietnam can be visited all year round.

Language: Vietnamese is the official language; French, Chinese, English, Khmer and tribal dialects (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian) are also spoken.

Religions and beliefs practised are Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Roman Catholicism, Islamism, Protestantism and ancestor worship.

Some popular dishes

Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for its fresh ingredients, minimal use of oil, and reliance on herbs and vegetables. With the balance between fresh herbs and meats and a selective use of spices to reach a fine taste, Vietnamese food is considered one of the healthiest cuisines worldwide.

The mainstream culinary traditions in all three regions of Vietnam share some fundamental features:

     + Freshness of food: Most meats are only briefly cooked. Vegetables are eaten fresh; if they are cooked, they are boiled or only briefly stir-fried.

     + Presence of herbs and vegetables: Herbs and vegetables are essential to many Vietnamese dishes and are often abundantly used.

     + Broths or soup-based dishes are common in all three regions.

     + Presentation:  the condiments accompanying Vietnamese meals are usually colorful and arranged in eye-pleasing manners.

While sharing some key features, Vietnamese culinary tradition differs from region to region.

Some popular dishes

Spring rolls are a kind of deep-fried flour rolls filled with pork, crab, shrimp, rice vermicelli, mushrooms and other ingredients. Traditionally, these rolls are made with a rice-paper wrapper, but in recent years, the rice paper is replaced by a wheat-flour wrapper.

  

                           Spring rolls                                             Fresh Spring rolls                                             Banh Mi

Fresh spring rolls are rice-paper rolls that often include shrimp, herbs, pork, rice vermicelli, and other ingredients wrapped up and dipped in fish or peanut  sauce.

Pho  is a noodle soup with a rich, clear broth made from a long boiling of meat and spices, its many varieties are made with different meats (most commonly beef or chicken) along with beef meatballs. Pho is typically served in bowls with spring onion, slices of semicooked beef (to be cooked by the boiling hot broth), and broth. In the south, bean sprouts and various herbs are also added.

Banh mi is a Vietnamese term for all kinds of bread, or more specifically the baguette, was introduced by the French during its colonial period.The bread most commonly found in Vietnam is a single serving baguette with typical fillings as steamed, pan-roasted or oven-roasted seasoned pork belly, Vietnamese sausage, grilled pork, grilled pork patties, spreadable pork liver, pork floss, grilled chicken, chicken floss, canned sardines in tomato sauce, soft pork meatballs in tomato sauce (xiu mai).Some ingredients, such as coriander, fish sauce and pickled carrots can be added.

Grilled fish (Cha Ca La Vong) is fish marinated with turmeric and galangal, first grilled over charcoal and then deep -fried. It is served with noodles, salad and fresh dill.

 

        Pho (Noodle Soup)                                                    Grilled Fish (Cha Ca La Vong)

Com Tam. In general, grilled pork (either ribs or shredded) is mixed with  (thinly shredded pork mixed with cooked and thinly shredded pork skin and fried ground rice) over com tam ("broken rice") served with  sweet and sour fish sauce. Other types of meat, prepared in various ways, may be served with the broken rice. One can have barbecued beef, pork, or chicken served with the broken rice. The rice and meat are served with various greens and pickled vegetables, along with a prawn paste cake, steamed egg and grilled prawns.

Lau (Hot pot) is a spicy variation of the Vietnamese sour soup with assorted vegetables, meats, seafood, and spicy herbs.

 

                                                      Com Tam dish                                                                 Hot Pot

Visa

Most visitors to Vietnam need a visa to enter the country. Visas are exempted for he citizens of the countries which have signed a bilateral or unilateral visa exemption agreement with Vietnam, tourist visa may be valid for 15 to 30 days.

Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND) is the official currency in Vietnam.

Paper notes include: (Polymer note) VND 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000;

                                       (Cotton note)    VND 5,000; 2,000;1,000; 500, 200.

                                       Coins include   VND 5,000; 2,000 and 1,000 (rarely used)                                                                                                                                '

- Foreign currencies and tourist cheques can be exchanged into Vietnamese Dong at banks or foreign exchange agencies, hotels or money changer stalls in the cities and big shopping centers.

- Credit cards are popularly used, especially in cities and big tourist centers.

- A big range of ATM can be used to draw Vietnamese currency.

Working hours

- Governmental agencies, banks work 8 hours/day from 7.30am to 4.30pm (excluding one-hour lunch) and are closed on Saturday, Sunday & public holidays. Private shops are open from 8am or 8.30am to 9pm or 10pm.

- Public holidays: January 1st (New Year's day, 1 day holiday), April 30th (Liberation day, 1 day holiday), May 1st (International Labor day, 1 day holiday), September 2nd (National Day, 1 day holiday), King Hung's anniversary (1 day holiday, the 10th of the third Lunar calendar), Vietnam Traditional Lunar New Year Festival: (Tet, 4-day holiday). Tet holiday usually falls at the end of January or middle of February by solar calendar. The holiday begins on the last day of the last lunar month and lasts through the first three days of the Lunar New Year.

Transport

You can also get around easily and safely from a place to another by hotel cars, taxis, airplanes, trains, boats, hydrofoils with different prices. 

Tourism: There are spectacular natural sceneries and historic sites in Vietnam. The country's greatest resource is its friendly, welcoming people and a charming innocence. Since the country opens its door to visitors, the country has built world-class hotels and tourism facilities with international standards and traditional Vietnamese hospitality. 

Vietnam is ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure.

 

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Traveler's feedback

Our Trip in Vietnam

Have you ever thought about going to the other side of the earth? I hadn’t until Noelle E. and David asked me to travel with them to Vietnam. After traveling 10,000 miles,...

Noellef889, 2014/09/06

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